What we do

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Who is doing it

Gerald de Haan, Director Sanquin Research

Treat cancer with blood

“My dream? Treating cancer patients with the body’s own blood cells, effectively and without side effects. By training the body’s own blood cells to become soldiers and then injecting them back into the body, where they attack the tumor. Our research is focused on discoveries and the application of these new capabilities.”

Who we do it for

Hein's dream?

”Ensuring that even more people with cancers that are difficult to cure can be treated with Tcell therapy.”

Just like himself—against all odds—he survived a very aggressive form of skin cancer.

“My life has completely changed. The doctors told me there was nothing more they could do for me, and for two years I was saying goodbye and closing life. Then when you get to hear that you’re cured, that’s fantastic. I’ve started to think differently about things, I really enjoy the moments with my family and friends.”

Sanquin Research conducts research into treatment using a patient’s own cells. It concerns the immune cells that are often present in tumors, but which do not succeed in breaking down the tumors. Sanquin Research, together with the Netherlands Cancer Institute, has succeeded in cultivating these immune cells in the lab and then injecting them into the patient, as a result, the tumor disappeared in some of the patients with a hitherto untreatable form of cancer.

What we need

With your support to Sanquin Research Fund we can conduct more research into this groundbreaking cancer treatment, which will enable even more people like Hein to be completely cured of cancer.

Treating cancer patients with
their own blood cells

Immune cells can precisely recognize and kill cancer cells. These immune cells are often found in tumors, but they fail to break down those tumors. Or they become exhausted prematurely. But spectacular results have been achieved in recent years. By growing immune cells in the lab and then injecting them into the patient, the tumor disappeared in some of the cases with a hitherto untreatable form of cancer.
Many new insights have thus been obtained that can help us to increase the effectiveness of these cell therapies against cancer. Sanquin researchers want to develop methods that allow the cultured immune cells to function properly in the tumors and not become exhausted.